Andy’s Man Club was started in 2016 when nine men met up in Halifax, Yorkshire, with the simple aim of talking through their issues and helping each other deal with their mental health.
This was the start of a movement that has grown faster than anyone first involved could have ever imagined.
Fast forward six years and Andy’s Man Club now has groups at over 70 locations across three constituent countries of the United Kingdom.
The club takes its name from Andrew Roberts, a man who sadly took his own life aged 23 in early 2016.
Andy’s family had no inkling that he was suffering or struggling to the extent that he would do this, and as a result looked deeper into male suicide and men’s mental health.
They soon discovered that male suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, and that Male Mental Health is surrounded by well-ingrained cultural stigma in the UK.
Elaine Roberts and Luke Ambler are Andy’s mum and brother-in-law, together they came up with the idea of Andy’s Man Club, a group where men aged 18 and above can speak openly about their mental health in a judgment-free, non-clinical environment.
Groups now operate nationwide and are completely volunteer-led, with the vast majority of group facilitators having first interacted with Andy’s Man Club when they came through the door as a service user.
With their service used on a weekly basis by over 1,000 men, and an army of over 400 volunteers on board, the movement is continuing to grow on a week by week basis.
A club spokesperson said: “We have seen numbers rise both in terms of people attending, and the number of clubs we have open - at the start of 2021 we had just over 30 clubs open nationwide. By the end of February we will be looking at around 85 clubs.
“The need for something like Andy’s Man Club, and for Male Mental Health support in general has never been stronger.”
The club continued during the pandemic, as the spokesperson added: “During the pandemic, we missed only one Monday night with the advent of our online sessions.
“Whilst the strictest rulings and laws of the pandemic were enforced, our group provided the only social interaction of the week for some of our members who may have lived alone.
“Isolation and loneliness were already a huge problem for men in the UK prior to Covid-19 and when the pandemic struck, this left some marginalised people feeling even more isolated and alone.
“To be able to go and interact with a group of men every Monday night was undoubtedly a lifeline to some members.”
Is there a club in Manchester?
The club in Manchester meet at 86 Princess Street every Monday night (except Bank Holidays) at 7pm.
For more information, email the club at [email protected]